Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Cologne's Cathedral - Germany

It is impossible to speak about Cologne and without mentioning its huge and impressive cathedral. It can be seen from nearly every point in the city centre with its towers dominating the city's panorama. 
If you'd like to enjoy some nice views of downtown Cologne and the Rhine, I suggest that you climb to the  platform of the cathedral's southern tower. However, you need to go up 533 steps in order to enjoy the views  because there is no lift. I did that and it was worth it. 

Dedicated to the saints Peter and Mary, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. Cologne Cathedral is the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany and has been Cologne's most famous landmark for centuries. Once the tallest building in the world, Cologne Cathedral still boasts the world's largest church façade.

© Schöning Verlag
DE-10375282, sent by Maria.
Construction of the present Gothic church began in the 13th century and took, with interruptions, more than 600 years to complete. The new structure was built to house the relics of the Three Magi, taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald von Dassel in 1164.

DE-820701, sent by Frank & Daniel.
The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral was laid on August 15, 1248, by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden, and the choir was consecrated in 1322. 
The completion of Germany's largest cathedral was celebrated as a national event in 1880, 632 years after construction had began.

© Citysights GmbH
 DE-1563221, sent by Stefan.
The cathedral suffered 14 hits by World War II aerial bombs but did not collapse and reconstruction was completed in 1956. In the northwest tower's base, an emergency repair carried out with bad-quality brickstones taken from a nearby war ruin remained visible until the late 1990s as a reminder of the War, but then it was decided to reconstruct this section according to the original appearance. It is possible to climb a spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres above the ground.

 © Schöning GmbH & Co, KG
DE-1464294, sent by Jens.
In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/cologne-cathedral

Guarda - Portugal

Guarda, my beloved city. Love it ❤ I really like when friends of mine come to visit the city and when possible, I like to be their guide. The last friend who visited the city was Tiago but the promised guided tour ended up being shorter than expected because of the rain. 
Tiago sent me the 1st of these cards but it took quite some time to get to my mailbox. He sent it on April 27th, the day he left the city, the postmark date is 3rd of May and I only received it on the 5th !!! I feel like saying a lot but is probably better to make no comments, except to thank Tiago once again for the postcard.

Besides the Luís de Camões Square, also known as Old Square, with our beautiful cathedral, thos card also depicts the G roundabout, a pillory and one of the gates of the city, Ferreiros (blacksmiths) Tower. 
Guarda, the highest city in Portugal, it is chilly and windswept all year round and offers superb views. The city was founded in 1197 by Dom Sancho I to guard his borders against both Moors and Spaniards, and though the castle and walls have all but disappeared, its streets and little squares are uniquely picturesque. - in: https://portugal.com

 Photo by A. Pinto
Back in 2012 I've sent this card to myself because I wanted to use a macthing stamp. 
The mediaeval Catedral da Guarda  is a historical religious building in Guarda, in Northeastern Portugal. Its construction took from 1390 until the mid 16th century, combining Gothic and Manueline styles.
The History of Guarda Cathedral begins in 1199, when King Sancho I obtained permission from the Pope to transfer the seat of the bishopric from nearby Egitania (Idanha-a-Velha) to Guarda.
Two other cathedrals were built before the actual one and both were destroyed.
The third and definitive Guarda Cathedral started being built in 1390 under bishop Vasco de Lamego, during the reign of King John I. In the early 15th century the apse was built and the nave was begun in Gothic style. In this first stage the works were influenced by the Monastery of Batalha, which was being built at the same time. Construction on the Cathedral proceeded slowly during the second half of the century.
In the period from 1504 to 1517, under bishop Pedro Gavião, the pace of the works increased and the cathedral was almost completed. The architects of this phase were 'Pedro and Felipe Henriques. The Manueline style - a Portuguese mix of Gothic and early Renaissance - was the dominant influence in this second building stage, as attested by the decoration of the windows of the nave and transept, the decorated rib vaulting of the transept, some spiralling columns of the nave as well as the main portal, similar to the Manueline portal of Saint Michael's Chapel of Coimbra University.
Most building activity in Guarda Cathedral was finished around 1540.
During the following centuries the cathedral was enriched with other elements. Despite the artistic value of some of these additions - like the Baroque organ - all were removed during a renovation carried out in 1898 by architect Rosendo Carvalheira, which aimed at restoring the cathedral to its primitive, Gothic/Manueline appearance. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * March '21

New month and hopefully many cards will fill my mailbox. 
Great views and new addictions to my collections.

Linda sent me a nice snowy view of West Lake.
West Lake is an iconic, symbolic sight in Hangzhou and is regarded as one of the most beautiful sights in China. Its beauty is the subject of many poems and paintings.
Nowadays, West Lake is one of the top ten scenic areas in China, getting listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011. It is famous for the romantic legends and intoxicating scenery.

Huber Images/Reinhard Schmid
What an amazing snowy landscape. Love the snow, the trees, the colors, everything. Tanja, you nailed it!!
This is a view in the Großer Arber, the highest peak of the Bavarian/Bohemian Forest mountain range and in Lower Bavaria. 

Foto: A. Mulet
The Ebro Delta Natural Park is the largest protected wetland in Catalonia. In total, 7,736 hectares where rice fields charge a different colour depending on the time of year we are, and become a pole of attraction of a rich flora and fauna.
More than 800 different species of flora, where the hurdles, the reeds, the eucalyptus trees and the river honeysuckles stand out. Much of this vegetation has had to adapt to extreme conditions and colonize dunes, saline soils or lagoon areas. The wildlife of the Delta, basically birds, attracts birdwatchers (observació d'aus) around the world. In fact, between 50,000 and 100,000 specimens of exactly 343 species of birds are quantified. - in: https://terresdelebre.travel
Card sent by Yolanda.

Edith noticed that I still didn't have the EU flag and sent me this updated version. Look at the map, UK isn't there anymore. It kinda look a bit weird to look at the map and don't see UK there.
Flag of Europe was first adopted in 1955 by the Council of Europe.
EU has an area of 4.233.262 km², a population of 447.206.135 and its capital is Brussels (de facto).
The state members are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
* The European Union is caracterized as most successful common market in the world;
* Motto - United in Diversity: Different cultures, languages and systems which contribute to a wholesome society, with progressive goals and humanitarian idelas;
* Flag Day of the Union - 9 May, Europe Day since 1985;
* Anthem; "Ode to Joy" - The 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's ninth simphony has been adopted as the Union's anthem in 1985;
* Formation: 1 January 1958 - Treaty of Rome. 1 November 1993 - Treatry of Maastricht;
* 27 Member States - A politico-economic union of states that are located primarily in Europe.  

Friday, April 30, 2021

Yosemite Falls - USA

Look how beautiful this card is. It was on my favorites wall and it was sent by Helen.

The best time to see Yosemite N. P. falls is during spring when most of the snowmelt occurs. Peak runoff typically occurs in May or June, with some waterfalls (including Yosemite Falls) often only a trickle or completely dry by August. Storms in late fall rejuvenate some of the waterfalls and all of them accumulate frost along their edges many nights during the winter.

Photos by Mike Jones

Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, dropping a total of 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall. This waterfall is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).
You can see Yosemite Falls from numerous places around Yosemite Valley, especially around Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge. 
It's also possible to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls as a strenuous, all-day hike.
Flows: approximately November through July, with peak flow in May. - in: https://www.nps.gov

Thursday, April 29, 2021


The five-tented Church of St John the Baptist is one of the many attractions of Kolomenskoye, a former Royal estate located in the southern part of Moscow. 
Beginning from the 15th century, Kolomenskoye served as a summer country residence for the Grand Dukes of Moscow and Russian Tsars. 

RU-8309004, sent by Diana.
The Church of St John the Baptist was built during the late period of Ivan IV the Terrible’s reign, approximately in the middle of the 16th century.
It is believed that the Church served as a prototype for St. Basil (Intercession) Cathedral on the Red Square and was constructed by the same architects.
Ivan the Terrible chose this church for his birthday feasts and holiday worships.
At present, the Church is located in a wild area and is surrounded by an ancient cemetery. - inhttps://www.russiaeguide.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Alkmaar was the 1st city I visited during my 2nd trip to the Netherlands. I was there in April but not on a friday, when the Cheese Market takes place. In normal circunstances the Cheese Market takes place every Friday, from April to September. Due to the Coronavirus, it is still unknown when the Cheese Market will take place in 2021.

NL-4865385, sent by Paul.
Back in 1365, as there was only one set of scales for weighing, cheese was traded on the Waagplein. The cheese was delivered early in the morning, and the cheese market masters and traders would check to see whether the cheeses had been well stacked. Up to 30,000 kilos, or 2200 whole cheeses, are lined up and waiting for customers.
But what would a cheese market be without the 'kaasdragers', or cheese porters? The 'zetters' (loaders), 'ingooiers' (cheese tossers) and 'waagmeesters' (weighers) also play defining roles at the market. They belong to a guild with many traditions. All in all, the Alkmaar Cheese Market is a fascinating spectacle, with many more interesting facts and information to be discovered. - in: https://www.holland.com


Tirol is a state in western Austria. 

This beautiful province is one of the best skiing areas in winter, while in the summer it offers fantastic hiking paths and stunning views of lakes and valleys. Traditional celebrations and delicious food can also be enjoyed year-round.Rugged peaks, rolling Alpine pastures, picturesque valleys, spectacular glaciers all make for the stunning scenic beauty of Tirol. Its friendly people, a long history in hospitality, and a great infrastructure make Tirol a truly unique destination.

AT-542203, sent by Karin.
The overwhelming beauty of Austria’s third-largest province is spectacular. One of Tirol's biggest claims to fame are its 500 mountain peaks that rise more than 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) above sea level.
Tirol has a population of over 700,000 (living in 279 communities, eleven of which are towns). Tirol's largest city is its capital, Innsbruck, which is located near the geographic centre. - in: https://www.austria.info


Emmerich am Rhein is a town and municipality in the northwest of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

© klaes-regio Fotoverlag
DE-10375290, sent by Jens.
Emmerich's Rhine promenade is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering peaceful views across the Rhine river and Emmerich's iconic Rhine Bridge, which is the  longest suspension bridge in Germany. This 1km long promenade also boasts a variety of restaurants, coffee shops and the Rheinpark with its playground.
The church on the card is St. Martin's Church. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Verdelhos - Portugal

 Almost a month without any updates. How did this happen? Well, I wasn't in the mood and these last weeks have been poor when it comes to cards. Now, officials are arriving again and I've a few new cards to show. 
This is not an official though. Because of the pandemic, Rita chose to confine in her father's hometown and even paid tribute to the village designing this card. 
I have already been to Verdelhos many times but never visited it.

Design: Rita Afonso

Verdelhos is located about 15 kms from Covilhã, at the northern end of the municipality, between the hills of the valley of the River Beijames.
Toponimically, Verdelhos finds its origin in the green color (verde - green), perhaps due to the nearby forests. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Monument to Sebastião da Gama - Portugal

Christmas is long gone, Easter is around the corner. I don't care about Xmas and I care even less about Easter. No matter how much you care, may you all have an Happy Easter. 
Rui and Carla sent me this card from Azeitão, with a monument to a local poet, to send me their Easter wishes.  

Sebastião Artur Cardoso da Gama was a poet, educator and the pioneering voice for the defence of the “Serra da Arrábida” (Northern hillside).
He was born on 10 April 1924 in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, and died on 7 February 1952.
The statue in his honour stands in the main square of his hometown – Vila Nogueira de Azeitão. - inhttps://visitsetubal.com

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Changdeokgung Palace Complex - South Korea

Constructed in the 15th century during the Joseon Dynasty, the Changdeokgung Palace Complex occupies a 57.9 ha site in Jongno-gu, in northern Seoul. 
Changdeokgung is an exceptional example of official and residential buildings that were integrated into and harmonized with their natural setting. The complex was originally built as a secondary palace to the main palace of Gyeongbokgung, differentiated from it in its purpose and spatial layout within the capital. 
The official and residential buildings that make up the complex were designed in accordance with traditional palace layout principles. The buildings and structures include three gates and three courts (an administrative court, royal residential court and official audience court), with the residential area to rear of the administrative area reflecting the principles of ‘sammun samjo (三門三朝)’ and ‘jeonjo huchim (前朝後寢)’. The buildings are constructed of wood and set on stone platforms, and many feature tiled hipped roofs with a corbelled multi-bracket system and ornamental carvings. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/816/

KR-7992, sent by Samara.
The Juhamnu pavilion was built in 1776 and is a 2 floors palace raising the talented, studying and publishing for the country. The 1st floor is the Gyujangkak royal library and the 2nd a readind room.
State exams were conducted in front of the pavilion on special occasions in presence of the king.

Injeongjeon Hall is the main hall at Changdeokgung Palace. It was used by the king and officials for conferences and as a meeting point with visitors. Foreign envoys would meet the king at this location when they arrived at the palace.
Originally built in 1405, it was twice destroyed by fire, once in 1592 and again in 1804. Both times it was rebuilt.
The royal walkway and courtyard, dating back to 1609, can be seen in front of the hall.
On this walkway are stone markers inscribed with ranks of court officials. Court officials would stand behind their designated stone marker when meeting with the king. Higher ranked officials stood closest to the king. Lower ranked officials would stand furthest from the king. - in: https://www.theseoulguide.com/sights/palaces/changdeokgung-palace/injeongjeon-hall-and-injeongmun-gate/

Photo by Seo Heun-Kang
KR-25753, sent by "yunjeong".
On this card there's the Jangnangmum Gate, the Main Gate of Nakseonjae House.
Nakseonjae was built by King Heonjong in 1847 for his concubine Kim Gyeongbin. It stands to reason that King Heonjong must not have been to infatuated with his wife considering he had this entire complex built for a concubine. Even the name Nakseonjae tends to indicate that the King preferred his concubine more than his wife because Nakseonjae literally means the “Mansion of Joy and Goodness”. This probably did not go over to well with his wife which might explain why the King died at age 22 only two years later in 1849.
Nakseonjae had been closed off to the public for decades because it had been used as the residence for the last remaining Korean princesses until 1989 when Princess Deokhye, the youngest daughter of King Gojang, the 26th king of the Joseon Dynasty passed away in 1989. Even after her death Nakseonjae didn’t open to the public until 2006. - in: http://rokdrop.com


These last 2 weeks my mailbox was empty most of the days and for that reason I'm running out of cards to post here!! I'm not getting (enough) cards and my cards take forever to arrive. Lets just hope that next week my postman will bring much more card.

RU-8308102, sent by Alena.
The Bornay Mosque is a mosque in Kazan.  
Its construction dates back to 1872. The architectural style is national romance eclecticism. The minaret was built in 1895. The interior is designed in the medieval Tatar and Russian traditions. 
Between 1930-1994 the mosque was out of service due to the Soviet authorities and in 1994 it was returned to the believers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is one of those cities that I really, really want to visit. I can imagine myself taking hundreds of pictures of all those beautiful buildings, churches and palaces. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is the monument I want to see the most. To see it on a snowy day would be wonderful. 
All these gorgeous cards were sent by Larisa, Eugene, Angela, Mia, Alena and Ara. 
RU-7397281, sent by Larisa. 
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main Russian Orthodox cathedrals of St. Petersburg.
The church is also variously known as the Church of Our Savior on Blood and the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, its official name. The "blood" of the common name refers to that of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed on that site on March 13, 1881, as well as that of the crucified Jesus.

RU-8308106, sent by Eugene.
Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907.
Funding was provided by the Royal family with the support of many private investors. The church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million.

In the aftermath of the Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s.
During World War II, the church was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of "Savior on Potatoes." It suffered significant damage during the Siege of Leningrad and after the war, it was used as a warehouse for a nearby opera theatre.

In July 1970, management of the church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the cathedral were ploughed back into restoring the church.
It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been resanctified and does not function as a full-time place of worship. The church is now one of the main tourist attractions of St. Petersburg.

The church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal. The section of street where the assassination took place was enclosed within the walls of the church, and part of the canal filled to allow the street to pass around the building.
Architecturally, the church is out of place in St. Petersburg. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood is more in line with medieval Russian architecture. It intentionally resembles the famous St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day - including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel - but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known. An elaborate shrine was constructed on the exact place of Alexander's death, garnished with topaz, lazurite and other semi-precious stones.
The church contains over 7,500 square meters of mosaics - according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The intricately detailed mosaics depict biblical scenes and figures, with fine patterned borders setting off each picture. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/russia/st-petersburg-church-of-savior-on-blood